The Impact on the Blue Jays International Free Agency Bonus Pool
As of right now, the international signing period is set to begin on January 15th, 2023 but many of the top players' sign at or very near the beginning of the period. The MLB and the MLBPA could not agree to terms on an international draft system this past summer, meaning the free-agent period will continue as normal. Each club receives $5.284 million in bonus pool money and earns or losses money based on a variety of factors, including revenue sharing, market size, and whether they sign a player attached to a QO.
Working on the assumption the Jays do not receive additional funds and head in with the $5.284 million, signing a player like Nimmo drops the funds to $4.784 million and to $4.284 million should they sign another player attached to the QO.
Looking at the international prospect leaderboards, the Blue Jays are currently tied to seventh-ranked prospect, outfielder Emmanuel Bonilla, and it is expected that he will command a signing bonus around the $4 million mark. This would be the highest mark in Jays franchise history, besting the $3.9 million the club used on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2015 and the $3.5 million on Orelvis Martinez back in 2018.
Even if the front office signs a player and the bonus pool drops by $500k, the Jays still have money to play with in the international free-agent market, being able to sign Bonilla and some other players with wiggle room to spare. Signing two players attached to the QO will limit additional international transactions following a potential Bonilla signing but again, I believe many fans would trade signing fewer international players if it meant an improved chance at going for the World Series with additional Major League roster pieces. As of right now, Bonilla is the only player in MLB.com's top 50 international prospect rankings that the Blue Jays are interested in.
Summing it All Up
Overall, I truly think the Jays are close to contending for a deep postseason run and although the 2022 postseason didn't pan out as expected, there are players available on the open market and trade front that could take this club to the next level. The drawbacks will have impacts on the future of the squad but no prospect is guaranteed to turn out as expected and as I mentioned earlier, I believe many fans would trade a second-round pick or some international bonus pool money for a shot at the World Series in 2023.